Growing up with a quiet borderline personality disorder is a lot like living in a fog. You constantly wonder why you feel ‘off’ but have difficulty identifying the cause. You interact with others as best you can, but sometimes feel things are never quite right.
You’re always worried about being awkward and misunderstood and terrified of being abandoned by your loved ones — they’ll all eventually leave your toxic family anyway, right? Because quiet borderline personality disorder is often confused for shy or introverted personality traits, it’s easy to feel misunderstood — especially as a child who just wants to fit in.
So, how do you know if you (or someone you love) are struggling with borderline personality disorder? Here are 18 telltale signs that suggest you might have grown up with quiet borderline personality disorder.
18 Signs You Grew Up with Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder
1. You love to read, but you’re not much for conversation. You tend to be overly sensitive, and having a close friend who can help you process your emotions is helpful. You have an extreme need for solitude, but only because being alone helps you think clearly and feel at peace.
2. You throw yourself into work that interests you with all your heart, no matter how long it takes. You often feel overwhelmed by other people’s emotions and find it hard to understand how they can be so emotionally expressive when you aren’t.
3. You’re always up for a good debate and don’t mind arguing your point as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else’s feelings. You know what makes sense in your head but often struggle with explaining that logic in words other people can understand without feeling attacked or misunderstood by them (or yourself).
4. You’re extremely loyal to friends, family members, and partners who are kind and understanding of your quirks — even if they don’t always agree with them — but struggle with trusting others who may not be as understanding of or receptive to your quirks (even if those quirks are perfectly normal for someone like you).
5. The actions and words of others easily hurt you, but you rarely show it. Your feelings are very much hidden, even from yourself. You feel like you should be able to control your emotions better than you do, but you can’t stop them from overwhelming you.
6. You are a perfectionist and extremely self-critical. You don’t think people understand how hard it is for you to get things right and how much effort goes into what looks like an easy accomplishment for others.
You always strive for the best and often feel inadequate because others don’t appreciate how much time and effort went into what they see as a simple task or accomplishment.
7. You constantly seek validation from others and are never truly satisfied with what they give back to you (even if it’s positive). You don’t think that anyone should get upset with how much time they spend talking about themselves because it should be obvious why they’re doing it (they want to feel accepted).
8. You feel misunderstood but don’t know how to explain. You have introverted tendencies, and your quiet demeanor makes people think you’re shy or anti-social. In reality, you just prefer to keep your feelings to yourself.
You’re afraid of being judged and misunderstood, so you try not to share too much about yourself with others.
9. You have low self-esteem and are always second-guessing yourself. You often feel like an imposter and wonder if your decisions will be okay. The successes you’ve had? You attribute them to sheer luck or claim someone deserves them more than you do.
10. You’re afraid of conflict and avoid confrontation at all costs. This extends beyond just arguments with others and includes conflict within yourself (between your thoughts and actions).
When there’s a problem, instead of facing it head-on, you’ll try to ignore it or fix it without anyone noticing (which usually doesn’t work). But even when there aren’t any obvious problems, you still have difficulty dealing with conflict.
11. You have abrupt mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days. Although these emotional shifts may seem random, they’re often triggered by perceived rejection, criticism, or unmet emotional needs.
Even if you’re intellectually aware of your emotions, you struggle to express them effectively. As a result, you may come across as emotionally distant or disconnected, even when feeling a great deal of emotional turmoil.
12. Although you crave close relationships, you often push people away or create emotional distance when they get too close. You’re afraid they’ll leave if they get to know the real you, so you put up barriers to protect yourself.
You have a history of unstable relationships, marked by intense attachment followed by equally intense devaluation. This pattern can occur in friendships, romantic partnerships, and even with family members. It can lead to a constant search for new connections to fill the void left by the ones that didn’t work out.
13. You struggle with abandonment issues, whether real or imagined. This fear of being left behind manifests in behaviors like constantly seeking reassurance, engaging in self-sabotage, or refusing to commit to a relationship in the first place.
14. You may sabotage yourself through impulsive decisions or behaviors undermining your progress. This could be due to a pervasive sense of unworthiness or a fear that success will ultimately lead to disappointment.
15. You have a strong sense of emptiness or loneliness that never truly goes away, no matter how many friends or loved ones you have around you. This void can lead you to seek out new experiences or relationships in a constant quest for fulfillment.
16. Your sense of self is unstable and undefined, leading to confusion about your identity. You may struggle with questions about who you are, your values, or your life goals and may adapt your behavior or beliefs to fit in with those around you.
17. You may have a heightened sensitivity to perceived slights and criticism, causing you to take even minor or unintentional comments very personally. This can lead to anger, shame, or guilt that seem disproportionate to the original circumstance.
18. You might have difficulty setting and maintaining boundaries in relationships, making it easy for others to take advantage of you or become overly dependent on you. Over time, this can lead to resentment and further instability in your connections with others.
Living Life with Quiet BPD
The signs and symptoms of quiet borderline personality disorder vary from person to person. Many people with this disorder are intelligent, intuitive, and highly functional. They do not need to isolate themselves, though they often prefer to be alone or with select people; they can be very empathetic towards others.
If you do have QBPD, there are ways to cope with it. First and foremost, remember that your feelings are valid. It can be difficult to make sense of the disorder emotionally but try to understand that you are not a bad person, even when you have these debilitating flashbacks. You should also remember that your triggers are not always set off intentionally.
Instead, they may come randomly from other people or situations. Finally, know that if you feel triggered too often, you may want to consider alternative coping mechanisms like exercise or professional help if you don’t have any natural outlets in your life.